Riding the Rapids
Trip Start Jul 23, 2002
66Trip End Jul 23, 2003
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It all started with five of the guys from the jungle plus me deciding that it would be a fun thing to go rafting while we were in Cuzco. Now the first thing is that I didn't learn anything from the time in the jungle and decided that two more days spent with the guys would be a good idea - always good when the others wish you good luck, you'll need it with those guys. And then the other thing was that putting yourself on an inflatable raft and hurling yourself down rapids sounds like a lot of fun and an adrenaline rush, and it is. But also potentially dangerous.
In Peru at this time it is the wet season so there is a lot of water in the rivers, which has meant that the four day trips aren't running because the water is too fast to do it safely. So we went for the 2 day trip
The next few hours were spent drifting down the river through several class 3 and 4 rapids and through some amazing scenery. It's such a difference to be out of the jungle and into the mountains. As we drifted along there were small villages along the waters edge, as well as sheer cliffs and amazing mountain scenery. when not busily paddling, it was nice to just soak up the scenery, although all the rubbish in the river detracted a bit from the sight.
The day was really cool with the raft disappearing into the water several times and you'd look ahead and go, oh shit, as you saw what was coming up
Back on land it was time to get some dry clothes and lunch before packing up and heading to a lake where we were camping for the night. The boys had a bit of a game of soccer with the locals but weren't used to the altitude so weren't quite so good on their feet as the locals. After dinner it was time to call it a night as it was getting quite chilly - compared to being in the jungle anyway.
The second day we were heading along a section of river with class 3, 4 and 5 rapids. going to be a bit harder, but we were looking forward to it as yesterday had been so much fun. So after packing up and meeting up with a few others who were joining us for the day we set off. The change in the people in the group meant the 6 of us from the jungle ended up all being in the same boat which was pretty cool as we were used of each other after the time and knew what to expect of each other
The second day there were more rafts on the river with another group also there, plus there was the rescue/video and photo raft, and the safety kayaker who were flying through the water as well. So we staggered our way through the rapids, pulling to the side as others went past, and waiting for the photo crew to get in position - hence why we have the photos you can see here. The day was great with fantastic rapids, a good vibe on the boat and more great scenery. Three of us got thrown out of our boat, Paul disappeared on one instance, and then Simon and I disappeared on another instance. This time leaving the raft was a little more than just a dip in the river, as we were in rapids at the time, so I got dunked several times before being dragged back into the raft. Certainly gets the adrenaline levels high. The worst thing about having multiple groups was that you spent a bit of time sitting around waiting and that was when you really felt the cold, and being wet for 3 hours meant you weren't particularly warm.
In the last minutes of the trip though was when I gave my left hand a new form
So the last five minutes were spent with the boys madly paddling through the last of the rapids and then trying to get the raft onto the shore where we were finishing. Meanwhile I was holding on with my good hand and trying to keep my other hand from being hit (not overly successfully). Luckily I did the injury just as we were coming to the end - best time to do it if it has to happen at all.
Back on shore, it was into the car and around the block to the hospital where it was try to exchange details with limited Spanish and through chattering teeth. Once in dry and warm clothes, and after a shot of morphine, it was back to the others and some lunch before heading into Cuzco
Back in Cuzco it was a visit to a Peruvian hospital for a consult, some x-rays and then the relocation of my thumb. There was a lot of waiting time, and Paul had to do a dash into the town centre to get some money out, so we could pay before they'd see me. Eventually though I had some impressive x-rays to carry around with me, and after a couple of local anaesthetics my thumb was put back into position. And then I got a beautiful bit of plaster wrapped around my thumb for the next 10 days, which made doing ordinary things a little more difficult.
So after a couple of very enjoyable days on the river, and a visit to hospital, it was time to go and pack ready to head out on the Inca Trail the next day. I little bit of plaster wasn't going to stop me - plus I had Simon and Paul with me to help out with carrying, etc.